A colossal project in the making for 75 years now to provide accurate, complete and detailed information on any work or author in Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit or Apabhramsa is likely to be completed in two years with the Centre sanctioning Rs. 2 crore to it.
“The country's rich cultural heritage has been preserved for ages through both the oral and written traditions. Although several kinds of material were used for writing purposes, palm-leaf became the most widely used material because of its easy availability and low cost,” says Siniruddha Dash, Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Madras.
As no master catalogue was there covering all individual catalogues available all over the world, the Sanskrit Department began the mammoth task on ‘The New Catalogues Catalogorum (NCC)' way back in 1935, with guidance from stalwarts such as V. Raghavan, but the task could not be achieved.
The National Manuscripts Mission (NMM), Ministry of Culture, had sanctioned Rs.75 lakh under X Plan to revive it. “The master catalogue, a 40 volume project, will be undoubtedly a boon to researchers on Indology.
So far, 19 volumes have been brought out. Six volumes are in the press and another five are being readied for the press.
Work on the remaining 10 volumes is in progress, says Prof. Dash, co-ordinator of the project.
The sanctioning of Rs.2 crore for the continuation of the project under the XI plan will enable the Sanskrit Department to complete the work by 2012.
On completion, the NCC will be a comprehensive alphabetical register of all works in Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit or Apabhramsa languages in the form of manuscripts or printed books, available anywhere in the world.
“It will provide up-to-date complete authentic details about the original work, its commentaries, sub-commentaries and their authors ,” says Prof. Dash.